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Sudie Crouch: That’s the way we’ve always done it
Nick Fewings, Unsplash

Someone made a comment the other day that made me grimace — hard. 

No, it had nothing to do with my age or my weight. 

It was a phrase that is innocent enough, as the one saying it usually means it’s harkening to tradition and values. “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” 

Sudie Crouch
I tried not to have a visceral reaction but I couldn’t help it; if my mouth doesn’t say it, my face definitely will. 

Usually they join forces to conspire against my better sense and betray me. 

But this time, I felt my face twist the minute I heard the phrase and I recoiled as if I’d been struck.

“We’ve done it that way for as long as I’ve been here” was the second verse of this familiar hymn.

Not sure if it was uttered as a mea culpa or a notion of pride, but just because something was done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean it’s right. 

So many questions ran through my mind as a response to this line of thinking but I didn’t even know which one to ask first. 

We can get so stuck in a rut that we may think just because that’s the way we’ve done something for a while that it makes it a good thing. 

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result — this can apply to a lot of situations. 

“It’s kind of a tradition,” I was told. 

Tradition is great. It is. But sometimes, we cling to those long-worn ceremonies and have no idea how they got started or why we still do them. 

Doing things the same old way, just because of tradition, is not honoring anything. It’s merely going through the motions, free of any respect or tribute. 

I wonder how many things we’ve clung to out of that servitude to tradition that needed to change. 

By sticking with those antiquated approaches, we may find ourselves boxed in with nowhere to change or grow. 

When we can’t change, we get really stuck, and that can sometimes mean, we get left behind, too. 

I think of all those businesses who were resistant to moving towards virtual and remote work during the pandemic over the last few years; a few had some struggles, but some adapted easily because they leaned into the change and didn’t focus on how they had always done things. 

That fear of change can be scary, whether it’s us taking a leap of faith in how we run a business, how we shop, how we do anything. 

Granny used to say if we do what we always did, we’ll get what we always got. 

And sometimes, the old gal would add, that may be all we want or can handle at the time. 

Maybe that’s why we cling to those traditions so tightly. 

That may be all we want or can handle for whatever reason. 

“Some people are content to be where they’re at because they feel like that’s their lot in life,” Granny would say. 

Do we hold on to those traditions that keep us stuck because we feel like we don’t deserve better? 

Or is it simply because we’re maybe held hostage by a superstition that if we do something different, it won’t work at all. 

It can be a scary thing, settling for where we are just because we’re scared we may step out and achieve something we really want. 

“We haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet,” that person continued. “Not sure if we will, either.” 

I nodded grimly.

I didn’t ask why not. I didn’t question what was on the other side of that fear, that could maybe help them take a huge leap forward. 

I knew. 

They were scared to do something different because they felt like the way they had been doing things had been just fine for a while, even if those things could be better.

Just because that’s how it’s always been done doesn’t mean it’s the best. 

Change can undoubtedly be scary, but even scarier, I would think, is being stuck.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.